LONDON, February 13, 2018
LONDON, February 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Olympic gold medal-winning Skeleton racer and Team GB Ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Amy Williams, has backed British skeleton contenders, Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Deas, to win medals as they start their Olympic campaign this week.
Despite a run of disappointing results for reigning champion Yarnold, Williams is confident of success, "She's got a plan. She's probably just testing out equipment, what works, what doesn't work, new set-ups on the sled. Sometimes you have to sacrifice race results to do that. I truly believe she can win a medal in Pyeongchang. I think Laura Deas can too - Laura has got just the same chance of winning a medal as Lizzy."
Speaking whilst being put through her paces by a team from British Rowing at the recent British Rowing Indoor Championships, Williams reflected on her career and the role of data analytics in sport.
Asked would she recommend skeleton racing to a newcomer to the sport, Williams was quick to answer positively, "Of course! It is a great sport. It's adrenaline, it's excitement, you're in the mountains and you have blue sky and snow all the time - why wouldn't you want to do it?"
Originally a 400m runner, Williams began training in skeleton after trying the sport on a push-start track at the University of Bath. Although unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics, Williams was a member of Team GB four years later at the 2010 Games, winning a gold medal to become the first British individual gold medallist at a Winter Olympics for 30 years and the only British medallist at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
With a long sports career, staying motivated in order to train on such a regular basis is tough for anyone at the top of their sport, "As an athlete competing, there were always going to be down days, especially when you're injured" explained Williams, "You wake up and you are exhausted, your body aches and hurts and the last thing you feel like doing is training. But once you drag yourself there and start warming up you always remember your end goal. You want to get better every day as an athlete, the tiny little margins add up to you improving at competition and you want to get better and better. Whether it is nailing a certain corner or track or beating another competitor it is the improvements that you train so hard for every day."
Participating at BRIC on behalf of SAS, the Official Data Analytics Partner of British Rowing, Williams commented that she wonders how her own career might have been improved with the backing of data analytics. "My era wasn't using data analysis as it's available to athletes today. My analysis was simply a notebook where I'd write down the humidity, the ice temperature and the air, runners I'd put on the skeleton, and the time of day. Those were my stats. That was it. Then, when I was back at the same track, I'd see what the conditions were and how I'd performed. Whereas now, if I had a company like SAS involved, and knowing what they could do for me in terms of data analysis, as an athlete, that would give me a huge boost of confidence."
Williams added: "Overall, the way that sport has shifted and changed to help an athlete perform is incredible. From talent identification to helping them over a number of years to improve. I wonder how much better I could have performed. It's great to have companies now able to help athletes win more medals."
"Amy Williams was speaking on behalf of SAS - the leader in analytics software and services. SAS is the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing. Further information at http://www.sas.com"
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